Jewish children in Britain are being drilled on what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. The Independent reports that children aged 10 and 11 in north London have described how they are trained to play “sleeping lions” by hiding under their desks when they hear an alarm.
Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, one pupil said he realised there were concerns of a Paris-style attack in the UK. “Sometimes I’m very worried about the current situation because after happening to Paris it could happen to England,” he said.
Another explained the drill: “When the alarm goes off we do a thing called sleeping lions. We all go under our desks or chairs and cover our heads with our hands,” with a classmate adding: “Sometimes it is [scary] because you’re not really sure if it’s real or not.”
The comments come two weeks after Amedy Coulibaly took hostages in a kosher store in Paris in the wake of the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Four of the hostages were killed, along with the gunman, when police stormed the shop and ended the siege.
Last week, French Jewish leaders admitted that a record number of Jews are fleeing the country due to fears of rising anti-Semitism.
“You always feel like you have to pretend like it’s a real situation and be as silent as possible even though you probably know that there’s no one there,” said another. “It’s still really important because you know that you are Jewish and lots of people don’t really respect that.”
A Survation poll for the Jewish Chronicle last week showed that three quarters of British Jews felt concerned for their safety following the Paris attacks. Asked whether life in Britain was getting better or worse for them, 43 percent said it was getting worse, while only 10 percent said it was getting better.
A separate report by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism found that 45 percent of the British public agreed with at least one of series of anti-Semitic statements, such as “Jews chase money more than other British people.”